Risk Management and Insurance

Risk management and the proper insurance coverage for collections can be a mysterious and elusive subject. If you have a parent organization, they may handle insurance for you and lump you in with other departments or entities whose physical assets are replaceable. In this module, you will see how institutions, with and without parent organizations, handle the issue of risk management. We also discuss the best types of insurance to carry to adequately cover damage to collections.  

Risk Management and Insurance from the Museum Point-of-View is presented by Christy Leonard, Director of Operations and Curator, Museum of Science and History.
Library/Archives Point-of-View is presented by Tina Peak, Library Director, Lake Wales Public Library, City of Lake Wales.

Webinar Length: 32 min. 43 sec. 
Note: When viewing the webinar, a new browser page will open.

Discussion Question about Risk Management: When considering risk management of collections, you must first identify risks that could occur at your institution, the severity of those risks, and how those risks can be minimized. Generally speaking, risks are then organized into four major categories:

  • Security related: arson, terrorism, theft, or vandalism
  • Natural disasters: earthquake, fire, flood, snowfall, high wind, hurricane, extreme temperature, or tornado
  • Infrastructure risks: HVAC failure, loss of power, pests, structural issues, water leaks
  • Societal related risks: financial mismanagement, loss of funding

Which risks do you think are most likely to happen at your institution? Of the top three risks, can you identify ways to impede damage? For example, hurricane is a high risk in Florida, but having an emergency plan can help to lower the risk factor. Theft by visitors is possible, but using specialized screws to lock cases and hang works of art on the wall can prevent someone from stealing an object.

Discussion Question about Insurance: During the insurance webinar, you heard about many different types of coverage to help compensate for damage to collections. In some organizations, insurance is handled by a colleague with a deep understanding of the irreplaceable value of the collection. In others, insurance is handled by an office that has little direct interaction with collections and with your facility. At your organization, who is involved in insurance? Are they specialists in your collections? Or risk managers for multiple departments where loss is replaceable? In the latter case, how can you open up dialogue to ensure the collections are best covered? 

Museum of Science & History of Jacksonville (MOSH) -  Risk Management and Insurance (.pdf)

Stranahan House - Risk Management and Insurance (.pdf)
Note:  When viewing the samples a new browser page will open.  

Online Resources
Chubb, Tailored Solutions for Treasured Institutions

DeWitt Stern, Designing Your Insurance Program

Huntington T. Block, Insurance Checklist for Museums

Minnesota Historical Society, Tech Talk Museum Security, Thinking Ahead about Museum Protection: An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

Speaker Biography
Christy Leonard has worked for the Museum of Science & History (MOSH) for eight years and currently serves as Director of Operations and Curator. She also serves as Vice Chair on the Jacksonville Fire Museum Advisory Board. Before completing her BA, Christy interned at an historic archaeology lab and worked as a receptionist at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville. This is where she first discovered her passion for the museum field. She earned a BA in History and Anthropology from the University of North Florida and is now completing a Master’s degree in Public Administration.

Tina Peak is a 4th generation Floridian. In 1982, she returned to her hometown and became the Library Director of the Lake Wales Public Library, where she has remained for 31 years. Tina attended Polk Community College and received an AA in English. She earned a BA in Communication Arts from the University of West Florida, and a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of South Florida. She remains committed to local history preservation and documentation.


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